University of Sussex
s13063-018-2547-1.pdf (770.57 kB)

Evaluation of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for life and a cognitive behavioural therapy stress-management workshop to improve healthcare staff stress: study protocol two randomized controlled trials

Download (770.57 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-12, 08:54 authored by Clara StraussClara Strauss, Jenny Gu, Nikki Pitman, Cavita Chapman, Willem Kuyken, Adrian Whittington
Background: Healthcare workers experience higher levels of work-related stress and higher rates of sickness absence than workers in other sectors. Psychological approaches have potential in providing healthcare workers with the knowledge and skills to recognise stress and to manage stress effectively. The strongest evidence for effectiveness in reducing stress in the workplace is for stress-management courses based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles and mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). However, research examining effects of these interventions on sickness absence (an objective indicator of stress) and compassion for others (an indicator of patient care) is limited, as is research on brief CBT stress-management courses (which may be more widely accessible) and on MBIs adapted for workplace settings. Methods/Design: This protocol is for two randomised controlled trials with participant preference between the two trials and 1:1 allocation to intervention or waitlist within the preferred choice. The first trial is examining a one-day CBT stress-management workshop and the second trial an 8-session Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Life (MBCT-L) course, with both trials comparing intervention to waitlist. The primary outcome for both trials is stress at post-intervention with secondary outcomes being sickness absence, compassion for others, depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, wellbeing, work-related burnout, self-compassion, presenteeism, and mindfulness (MBCT-L only). Both trials aim to recruit 234 staff working in the National Health Service in the UK. Discussion: This trial will examine whether a one-day CBT stress-management workshop and an 8-session MBCT-L course are effective at reducing healthcare staff stress and other mental health outcomes compared to waitlist, and, whether these interventions are effective at reducing sickness absence and presenteeism and at enhancing wellbeing, self-compassion, mindfulness and compassion for others. Findings will help inform approaches offered to reduce healthcare staff stress and other key variables. A note of caution is that individual-level approaches should only be part of the solution to reducing healthcare staff stress within a broader focus on organisational-level interventions and support.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version






BioMed Central





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date